Do You Need Account Managers — Or Salespeople?
As a local VAR and MSP, we’ve always had account managers at our business to drive new business and maximize the engagement with our current client base. In considering if my business should have account managers or salespeople, I’ve come to realize that it all hinges on WHAT you’re selling the most of: Products or Services?
If you are selling mostly products, you need a sales staff, not account managers. They are hunters who enjoy the thrill of the chase and are therefore compensated on the size of the sales they bring to you. They are not interested in long-term relationships, they want to conquer client objections and bring home the prize. Then move on to the next one. Salespeople are doers and are goal-oriented, which is what makes them successful in finding and closing new business.
If you are selling mostly services, you need account managers. Some call them farmers or gatherers. Selling services means you are selling your expertise and building long-term relationships. “Trusted advisor” may be an over-used term, but it is the goal that you are trying to achieve. As that trusted advisor, you have the ability to foresee the needs of your clients and proactively plan future upgrades and additional solutions to meet their needs. You are in a great position to leverage your full solution set and narrow the number of vendors with which your clients engage.
With a team of account managers, the number one salesperson bringing in new clients should be you, the business owner. No one else is going to be able to talk owner-to-owner better than you and land the deals that take extra time and effort. Bringing in new clients yourself also means that your client will have a relationship with YOU, keeping client loss to a minimum when you experience account manager turnover.
Do you have account managers or salespeople in your business? How is that working out for you? Are you contemplating a change?